The Office of the Mining Warden is created under Part 11 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990. The Mining Warden has three functions under the Act to:
- investigate and attempt to settle certain mining-related disputes
- investigate and make recommendations on certain mining-related matters
- make recommendations on whether requirements to obtain certain consents should be waived.
The Mining Warden, Mr. E John Butler, has reported to the Minister for Energy and Resources on the affairs of the Office of the Mining Warden for the financial year ending 30th June, 2015, in accordance with Section 105 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990.
This document presents a summary of the Mining Warden’s report to the Minister for Energy and Resources for the financial year ending 30th June, 2015.
Nine new files were opened by the Mining Warden’s office during the financial year. The nature of those files was as follows:
|Nature of the matter||Files opened|
|Investigations referred by Minister or Department Head||1
|Recommendations on waiver of consent of exploration licence holder for grant of a prospecting licence||1
Five other files also required attention opened in previous years and carried over to the financial year ending 30th June, 2015.
Of all of the files (either opened during the year or carried over) that relate to disputes:
- five files involved a dispute between a landowner and a mining company
- seven files involved a dispute between a mining company and the Department.
The one file that involved a referred investigation concerned an allegation of disposing of mine tailings, with a naturally occurring radioactive component, at a mine site.
The remaining file sought a recommendation on whether to waive the requirement of consent of the holder of an exploration licence in order to grant a prospecting licence to another party.
During the financial year, six cases were closed and eight cases are currently with the Warden.
During the financial year, the Office of the Mining Warden was contacted in connection with 60 additional matters, which were dealt with by providing advice and did not require files to be opened. These included queries regarding:
- powers of the Mining Warden
- statutory interpretation
- registration of a charge over a mining licence
- landowner consent to access for private land
- miner’s rights
- transfer of mining licences
- property searches for mine hazards in relation to the sale of private land
- history of early mine sites
- disused mine sites
- issues arising from the fire in the open cut mine at Traralgon
- rehabilitation rights of landowners
- decisions on previous cases before the Mining Warden.
The workload of the office during the year increased slightly from the previous year.
There are presently several matters before the Warden that relate to concerns by landowners or landcare groups regarding alleged adverse impacts of mining operations on landowners’ properties or community property. Whether these will require reporting or recommendations to the Minister will become clearer as investigations proceed.
More information about the functions, obligations and procedures for the Mining Warden are available at:
Victorian Mining Warden's Office
Level 16, 121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 8392 2218
Fax: (03) 9092 2066